That’s the charm of The Big Bang Theory: the gang are all a little quirky, eccentric and inexplicable in their own charming ways. It’s usually the brilliant Dr. Sheldon Cooper who gets most of the attention (generally because he demands it), for his towering intellect, but even he has his flaws and makes his share of glaring mistakes.
Dr. Rajesh Koothrappali is certainly no slouch on the genius front other, being a gifted astrophysicist. Sadly, he’s just as apt to make awful blunders and errors in judgment. Buckle up, because we’re about to take a look at ten of his worst.
Relying On Alcohol To Talk To Women
The gang we meet early in the show’s long run are defined by two main traits: their scientific brilliance and their equally towering social ineptitude. Raj is perhaps the most troubled of all on that front: he has selective mutism, which prevents him from talking to women (except those in his own family).
In the first season’s “The Grasshopper Experiment,” Penny makes drinks for the gang to practice mixing cocktails. Raj discovers that, under the influence of alcohol, he can talk to women after all. The problem is, he instantly decides that he’s going to drink whenever he’s around women (including an upcoming date), and soon develops a reputation for saying the most inappropriate things when he’s been drinking. Needless to say, this wasn’t really the way forward.
Allowing The Others To Speak For Him
Leonard is immediately infatuated with Penny when the pair meet in the pilot episode and is desperate to be around her. Couple this with the unlikely friendship that forms between Penny and the dorky duo across the hall, and it’s clear that she’s going to be spending a whole lot of time at the guys’ apartment.
This proved super problematic for Raj. Initially unable to speak in Penny’s presence, he was reduced to whispering frantically into one of his buddy’s ears (usually Howard’s) and trusting them to relay the message. This caused issues in and of itself, as his frustrated friends sometimes made jokes, changed the ‘message’ or refused to repeat it if they thought it inappropriate. As we all come to learn at one time or another, ignoring issues and not confronting them tends to make things worse and drag problems out.
Getting Into That Silly Office War With Sheldon
As the rest of the gang will tell you, Dr. Cooper is a genius but he’s also super childish at times. When things don’t go his way, he’ll protest, argue, and pester everybody else like a petulant child. His eventual wife, Amy, really struggled in their relationship as a result.
Knowing all of this, and that Sheldon doesn’t work well with others in general, taking a position in Dr. Cooper’s office (in “The Hot Troll Deviation”) was a huge mistake on Raj’s part. The pair were reduced to getting into pitched battles over silly things like Raj’s demand for a desk of his own. It’s one of the more farcical episodes, with scenes that could’ve been avoided if Raj had refused to rise to Sheldon’s bait.
Not Seeing That He Was Much Too Involved With Howard And Bernadette’s Life
Now, we feel you, Raj, we really do. It can be super tough when your best friend gets into a relationship and seems to leave you behind in favor of their new partner. Sure, you’re happy for them, but at the same time, you were that plus one first, right? For somebody as lacking in self-esteem as our friend Dr. Koothrappali, this can be devastating.
However, Raj made a huge error in judgment as he got closer and closer to the couple. He took the third wheel concept to a whole new level, moving in with the pair, creeping into their bedroom at night and claiming that he’d be in the delivery room when Bernadette gave birth. Being such a brilliant man, you’d think that, despite his insecurities, he’d have recognized this.
Being So Awkward Around Priya And Leonard
As any fan of The Big Bang Theory will tell you, Leonard and Priya weren’t exactly the greatest couple in the history of the show. It’s plain to see that they just weren’t a good match, and things probably wouldn’t have worked out in the long run.
Even with this in mind, though, Raj’s behavior towards the pair was completely unwarranted. He was devastated when he found out about them and thought he had the right to simply forbid Priya from dating his friend. While the relationship was short-lived, it brought out an unpleasant side in Raj, who really should have made his peace with the idea for the sake of his relationships with both Leonard and his sister.
Being Drawn Into The Pursuit Of Dates With Howard
Now, Howard Wolowitz probably isn’t the sort of man that many of us would consider a good influence. He’s reckless and impulsive, traits which lead him into all kinds of ridiculous situations that would make Homer Simpson proud.
In short, he’s a dangerous person to pair with an agreeable and enthusiastic friend like Raj, who joins Howard on a lot of these ill-advised adventures and tend to come out much the worse for it. Most often, the pair are visiting bars seeking dates, with Raj emerging at the other side with another dent in his self-esteem.
His Jealousy Of Leonard And Howard’s Relationships
As we’ve already seen, Raj struggles with loneliness throughout the show’s run. He’s very reliant on his friends, feeling super threatened when they find partners and don’t spend as much time with him as they had done before.
A couple of seasons deep into the show, Leonard and Howard are both forming closer bonds with girlfriends, and Raj takes this very personally. It’s natural for a man in his position to feel this way, to a certain extent, but his mindset is all kinds of wrong. He seems almost to enjoy failures on his friends’ parts, romantic or otherwise.
Pushing Too Hard In His Own Relationships
Next up, we have a point that’s closely connected to the last. Raj often struggles to make and maintain a connection with a partner, which is where his string of romantic misadventures spring from. As a result of this, he overcompensates by diving in head-first.
The issue here is that it’s so easy to get caught up in a relationship and try to push things too far too fast. Lucy, in particular, was very tentative herself and wasn’t ready for this, but the over-enthusiastic Raj tried to fast-lane the relationship and meet her friends anyway. This is something that’s crucial to keep in mind in our own relationships.
Relying On His Parents
While The Big Bang Theory gang seem to take turns at being mortified by their visiting parents, Raj’s mother and father live in a luxurious home in India. They still find a way to mess with the unfortunate astrophysicist, though: via webchat.
His father is a very wealthy and successful gynecologist, so Raj really wants for nothing. For most of the show’s run, his father funds his lifestyle. This is all well and good, but it’s easy to rest on your laurels that way and never achieve true personal growth yourself. It’s a long time before Raj asserts his independence and celebrates his own successes, which is a real shame.
Claiming To Come From A Super Humble Background
So, as we’ve just seen, Dr. and Mrs. Koothrappali really have it made in India. They can’t understand why their son chooses to live in Pasadena, but they (begrudgingly at times) financially support his wishes.
Oddly, though, Raj rarely acknowledges his parents’ fortune. He frequently refers to his supposed humble upbringing and struggle in India, despite the fact that his friends, who know better, constantly correct him. Raj’s mistake here is trying to present himself in a more sympathetic light. He has a lot to offer, he simply needs the confidence to be himself, on his own merits. Who hasn’t felt that way at one time or another?